The crowds milling about at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on the third night of the annual Jewish Film Festival were slightly older and possibly more religious than the hordes of international moviegoers at the annual summer film festival that takes place each July.
It’s a problem, sighed Daniella Tourgeman, the coordinator of the Jewish Film Festival at the Cinematheque. With a more serious roster of films focusing on questions of Jewish identity and thought, it can be tough to draw in the younger student crowd. That said, those are the subjects that are often, but not always, the focus of the Jewish films.
There’s a fairly wide range of movies this year, including a Tuesday evening (7 p.m.) premiere of “Fringes,” a documentary by former Goldman Sachs director Jonathan Lopatin and Jerusalem filmmaker Paula Weiman-Kelman telling stories of the spiritual innovation of young Jews in Israel, Canada and the US, as well as the 25-year celebration of “Dirty Dancing,” with a 9:15 p.m. screening that may include drag queens on the dance floor, according to a hint from Tourgeman. Early Tuesday evening will also include a 5:30 p.m. event for kids, a screening of two silent 1930s-era films, “Oded the Wanderer” and “Once Upon a Time.”
This year’s movie list included two screenings of “Dorfman,” a Jewish-themed chick flick about a young woman seeking to find herself, and ultimately aided by her loving Jewish father, played by Elliot Gould, one of several lighter films about Jewish life in the Diaspora. For similar themes, check out “Just 45 Minutes from Broadway,” (7 p.m. Wednesday, see trailer below), based on the play about a family reunion during the Passover seder, and “How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire,” from the UK (9 p.m. Wednesday).
Wednesday evening also brings a series of events (6:30 p.m.) in honor of Ethiopian Jews, as well as the Religion Today Festival, a (9 p.m.) screening of “Football is God,” a Danish film about faith and football.
Finally, it’s worth reserving tickets for the (9:30 p.m.) Thursday closing event, “Awake Zion,” a so-called musical odyssey about the connections between Rastafarian culture, reggae and Judaism, that will include a performance by My-Lord Sound and Gil “Rasta” Bronstein.